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Newcastle United team needs these changes after takeover – Not as many as you might think

3 weeks ago
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Ok, hypothetical situation. Fast forward a month or so and (touch wood) Newcastle United have been taken over and a great new dawn is upon us as we embark on the 2020/21 season.

The first question to arise will be who will be Newcastle United manager?

The new owners will highly likely make a change in the hot seat as I don’t believe anyone actually thinks that Steve Bruce is the man to take this club forward, despite what his media chums think.

Attentions will then turn to building a squad capable of pushing on to better things and to do this will require money and a few ins and outs in the transfer market, having said that, I do have some reservations about what some fans may expect.

It was a debate on The Mag on Tuesday about the retention of Matty Longstaff that got me thinking of how many players would come and go and where would this place the younger Longstaff in the team selection. Some fans seem to be under the impression that as soon as the takeover is complete, half the team (including Matty) will simply be scrapped. It doesn’t (and shouldn’t) work like that.

You can’t just scrap this whole Newcastle United team and buy a new one. Some players will need to be retained regardless, even if the transfer budget is £200m. The bulk of what we see at the club now WILL be at the club next season no matter what and I firmly believe that one of those players should be Matty Longstaff.

I think it’s a shame that in some people’s minds Matty Longstaff would be dumped in favour of a new multi million pound midfielder. Even if we were to bring in such a player, I wouldn’t have the younger Longstaff leaving. Isaac Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey have had good seasons but the former has wanted away for a while and the latter isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. We have Nabil Bentaleb and Valantino Lazaro on loan and Matty’s older brother Sean on the books. Are we seriously going to propose dumping the lot?

Further back in defence will be much the same, the status quo will be here next season either in the Newcastle United team or making up the squad, even if we were to sign Virgil Van Djik.

I had a bit of a play about with the Newcastle United Team Selector and came up with two options to show where I think we should be improving next season. Now let’s be clear, I wouldn’t necessarily keep all the players I’ve selected as some have less merits than others and some will be moved on, depending on who is manager. I’m sure it’s bound to cause much debate so I look forward to the comments.

Subs: Karl Darlow/Mark Gillespie, Paul Dummett, Matt Longstaff, Miguel Almiron, Javier Manquillo, Sean Longstaff, Joelinton.

We’ve regularly played five at the back and as you can see, I believe we have a big problem at both wing back positions and we have an obvious vacancy at centre forward. You could argue for selling/loaning out Joelinton or upgrading some of the bench but the point being is that we don’t require wholesale changes or loads of incoming players.

Option 2:

Subs: Karl Darlow/Mark Gillespie, Fabian Schar, Matt Longstaff, Dwight Gayle, Joelinton, Sean Longstaff, Florian Lejeune.

So still a striker is required but you could utilise one of the Longstaff brothers in the middle or make another signing, like I’ve said any of the players I’ve picked could be sold and improved upon but the basis of a side is there and ripping up the team isn’t required. In an ideal world I’d want better full backs but Rome wasn’t built in a day and a major overhaul takes time.

The players I would move on personally, are Ciaran Clark, Yoshinori Muto, Emile Krafth and Christian Atsu, with question marks over Matt Ritchie and I wouldn’t have offered Andy Carroll a contract extension.

Anyway, back to the player who started the debate, Matty Longstaff.

I see a lot of potential there and a player we should be bringing on here and there, like at the weekend when Bruce refused to. He may fade and not make it as a great player in the coming years but let’s not just chuck him. If he honestly thinks he’s arrived and made it already (I don’t believe he thinks like that) or that his agent is playing silly buggers then he can quite rightly go as it’s pointless keeping players that don’t want to be here.

I keep on using the example of Phil Foden at Manchester City, a young player who has  shone in and amongst some mega bucks signings. It’s ironic that he plays in a similar position to Matty Longstaff and whilst the Man City player is obviously better at this moment, it goes to show that just because you have the ability to sign player after player, doesn’t mean you have to just for the sake of it.

I personally think Matty Longstaff is like the rest of us and is holding out for the takeover to make his mind up and that he doesn’t see Steve Bruce as the Head Coach to improve him, or Newcastle United, to bring out the best in him under the current regime and that the club will simply try and get him to sign a contract with the aim to flog him for a big profit somewhere down the line.

But above all else, I really hope fans (takeover pending) aren’t expecting a whole host of new faces in time for 2020/21, it’s not necessary and it doesn’t always work.

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